A tutelary ( or ) (also tutelar) is a deity
who is a guardian, patron, or protector of a particular place, geographic feature, person, lineage, nation, culture, or occupation. The etymology of "tutelary" expresses the concept of safety and thus of guardianship.
In late Greek
and Roman religion
, one type of tutelary deity, the ''genius
'', functions as the personal deity or ''daimon
'' of an individual from birth to death. Another form of personal tutelary spirit is the familiar spirit
of European folklore.
, tutelary animal spirit among the Zapotec
, familial or clan spirits among the Ojibwe, can be animals
* Chinese folk religion
, both past and present, includes a myriad of tutelary deities. Exceptional individuals, highly cultivated sages and prominent ancestors will be deified and honored after passing away. Lord Guan
is the patron of military personnel and police, while Mazu
is the patron of fishermen and sailors.
**Tu Di Gong
(Earth Deity) is the tutelary deity of individual locality and each locality has its own Earth Deity.
**Cheng Huang Gong
(City God) is the guardian deity of individual city, and are worship by local officials and locals since imperial times.
* In Hinduism
, tutelary deities are known as ishta-devata
are guardian deities of villages. Deva
s can also be seen as tutelary. Shiva
is patron of yogi
s and renunciants. City goddesses include:
* In Korean shamanism
'' and ''sotdae
'' were placed at the edge of villages to frighten off demons. They were also worshiped as deities. Seonangshin
is the patron deity of the village in Korean tradition and was believed to embody the Seonangdang
* In Philippine animism
'' or ''Lambana'' are deities or spirits that inhabit sacred places like mountains and mounds and serve as guardians.
: * Maria Makiling
is the deity who guards Mt. Makiling
: * Maria Cacao
and Maria Sinukuan
* In Shinto
, the spirits, or ''kami
'', which give life to human bodies come from nature and return to it after death. Ancestors are therefore themselves tutelaries to be worshiped.
provincial capitals have tutelary city pillars
. The guardian spirit of a house is known as ''Chao Thi'' (เจ้าที่) or ''Phra Phum'' (พระภูมิ). Almost every traditional household in Thailand
has a miniature shrine housing this tutelary deity, known as a spirit house
* Tibetan Buddhism
as a tutelary deity. Dakini
is the patron of those who seek knowledge.
spoke of hearing the voice of his personal spirit or ''daimonion'':
The Greeks also thought deities guarded specific places: For instance, Athena
was the patron goddess of the city of Athens
Tutelary deities who guard and preserve a place or a person are fundamental to ancient Roman religion
. The tutelary deity of a man was his Genius
, that of a woman her Juno
. In the Imperial era
, the Genius of the Emperor
was a focus of Imperial cult
. An emperor might also adopt a major deity as his personal patron or tutelary, as Augustus
. Precedents for claiming the personal protection of a deity were established in the Republican era
, when for instance the Roman dictator Sulla
advertised the goddess Victory
as his tutelary by holding public games ''(ludi
)'' in her honor.
Each town or city had one or more tutelary deities, whose protection was considered particularly vital in time of war and siege. Rome
itself was protected by a goddess whose name was to be kept ritually secret on pain of death (for a supposed case, see Quintus Valerius Soranus
). The Capitoline Triad
, and Minerva
were also tutelaries of Rome.
towns had their own tutelary deities. Juno often had this function, as at the Latin
town of Lanuvium
and the Etruscan
city of Veii
, and was often housed in an especially grand temple on the ''arx'' (citadel)
or other prominent or central location. The tutelary deity of Praeneste
, whose oracle was renowned.
The Roman ritual of ''evocatio
'' was premised on the belief that a town could be made vulnerable to military defeat if the power of its tutelary deity were diverted outside the city, perhaps by the offer of superior cult at Rome. The depiction of some goddesses such as the ''Magna Mater'' (Great Mother, or Cybele
) as "tower-crowned
" represents their capacity to preserve the city.
A town in the provinces
might adopt a deity from within the Roman religious sphere to serve as its guardian, or syncretize
its own tutelary with such; for instance, a community within the ''civitas
'' of the Remi
adopted Apollo as its tutelary, and at the capital of the Remi (present-day Rheims
), the tutelary was Mars Camulus
Tutelary deities were also attached to sites of a much smaller scale, such as storerooms, crossroads, and granaries. Each Roman home had a set of protective deities: the Lar or Lares
of the household or ''familia'', whose shrine was a ''lararium
''; the Penates
who guarded the storeroom ''(penus)'' of the innermost part of the house; Vesta
, whose sacred site in each house was the hearth; and the Genius of the ''paterfamilias
'', the head of household. The poet Martial
lists the tutelary deities who watch over various aspects of his farm. The architecture
of a granary ''(horreum
)'' featured niches
for images of the tutelary deities, who might include the ''genius loci
'' or guardian spirit of the site, Hercules
, Fortuna Conservatrix ("Fortuna the Preserver") and in the Greek East Aphrodite
and Agathe Tyche
The ''Lares Compitales'' were the tutelary gods of a neighborhood ''(vicus
)'', each of which had a ''compitum'' (shrine) devoted to these. During the Republic, the cult of local or neighborhood tutelaries sometimes became rallying points for political and social unrest.
Some tutelary deities are known to exist in Slavic Europe, a more prominent example being that of the leshy
* Kawas (mythology)
* Eudaemon (mythology)
* Guardian angel
* National god
* Patron saint
* Power animal
Category:Deities by association